NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn airs live this Saturday, August 22, live on WWE Network. The show is headlined by a double main-event: Bayley challenging Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship, and Finn Bálor defending the NXT Championship in a ladder match against the former champion, Kevin Owens. Also, LIGER IS THERE.
Here’s your complete NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn card.
1. Ladder match for the NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Kevin Owens
2. NXT Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley
3. Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
4. Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin
5. NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Blake & Murphy (c) vs. The Vaudevillains
6. Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger
That one was spoiled by Triple H and some promotional material on social media, so don’t blame me.
Here are our predictions for the show, and a brief recap of what folks who aren’t familiar with NXT might need to know. Let us know what you think will happen in our comments section below.
Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger
What You Need To Know: This is the debut of “Apollo Crews,” the former Uhaa Nation. You may know him from his work in Japan and on the independents, or as the guy from the Akira Tozawa “Shake It Up” Vines. If you’re aware of those, you probably don’t need a wrestling primer. He’s debuting against “Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger, a guy who was basically vanilla on toast for like a decade before finally getting to do his awesome house show character on television.
What Will Happen: WWE rarely has a debuting star just maul his opponent and win — even Kevin Owens had to deal with CJ Parker almost driving his nose bone through his brain — so Dillinger’s a great choice to beat Crews down for a while and set up his amazing offense. Crews wins, obviously, and will be an instant fan-favorite as long as they don’t do anything they did with Solomon Crowe.
Chris Trew – While I cannot predict a straight outcome to this match, I can certainly predict that my affection is up for grabs here. I’m ready to be won over by some new blood. So I’m saying it here first — whoever wins this match becomes my new favorite NXT wrestler. My last favorite NXT wrestler was Sting, and he got to be on WrestleMania this year. So, you know.
Nate Birch – Aw, man, I’m actually kind of torn by this one. Poor Tye Dillinger just became somewhat relevant. Couldn’t, say, Mojo Rawley have lost here? Don’t tell me he has something better to do.
Jessica Hudnall – Uhaa, got you all in check! Crews is going to be explosively athletic all over Dillinger, who I assume will be attempting his best CJ Parker impression here. Apollo wins big time.
Austin Heiberg – I hope you’re not expecting me to pick against a moonsaulting heavyweight from Dragon Gate. Apollo is going to DESTROY Tye here, perfect ten or not.
Danielle Matheson – Oh man oh man oh man Uhaa Nation is HERE and he’s gonna do so much FLIPPY STUFF and look so STRONG because he is CRAZY STRONG and everyone’s gonna LOVE HIM and I’m super sorry Tye but this pick is TOO EASY because I am super not hiding my incredible bias APOLLO CREWS AND ENDLESS HEART EMOJIS DUH
David D. – This match suddenly got interesting because Tye Dillinger is suddenly incredible. What I first thought would be a squash is now a match I can’t wait to see. Crews wins with the Crews Control finish. What’s the Crews Control? I don’t know, but I bet that’s what they call it?
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Blake & Murphy (c) vs. The Vaudevillains
What You Need To Know: Blake & Murphy are a pair of relative unknowns who won the NXT Tag Team Championships out of nowhere, and have been warped into a pair of vaguely-effeminate henchman for a vindictive cheerleader as a result. The Vaudevillains are old-timey types who may or may not have time-traveled here from the 1920s. They’ve been trying to get a fair shake against Blake & Murphy, but Alexa Bliss — said vindictive cheerleader — keeps cheating and slapping them in their faces. They have to have a solution to counter Bliss if they want to win the titles, and they claim they have one. Only, you know, Bliss won’t stop smacking them in the face so we haven’t heard what it is.
What Will Happen: This is a tough one to call, but I’m giving it to Blake & Murphy. The big “thing” of the match is what the Vaudevillains have in store to counter Bliss, which is either (1) tying her to railroad tracks, or (2) a new female valet. I honestly hope it’s both. Bring out Blue Pants dressed as a flapper, or debut a new girl in an anachronistic 1920s gimmick and she’s an instant fan favorite. Carmella got over as a hair stylist that was mean to people we liked, and this seems WAY easier.
But yeah, no, once the Vaudevillains spring their counter, it’ll be up to Blake & Murphy to pull out a cheap victory on their own. That’s what I’m counting on. Enzo & Cass really should’ve gotten this spot over the Vaudevillains, and I love the Vaudevillains. Just saying.
Chris Trew – Vaudevillians in six. I know this isn’t a basketball series but Vaudevillians in six sounds pretty cool. If this was a basketball series, I think Blake & Murphy would be the Los Angeles Lakers when they had Karl Malone, so yeah, definitely Vaudevillians in six.
Nate Birch – Blake & Murphy will beat the creative likable team, because that’s what the NXT tag team division is all about for some reason.
Jessica Hudnall – I really want the Vaudevillains to win, but unless they enter via zeppelin, I don’t think they’ll manage to overcome the Dubstep Cowboys hailing from BeatDrop Mountain. Team BM retains. Stupid jerkstores.
Austin Heiberg – I want a Vaudevillains win here just so Evil Alexa can hit the main roster and be a free agent in the Hashtag Divas Revolution. Is that wrong?
Danielle Matheson – V-A-U-D-E-V-I’m tired of spelling this out, but who I’m rooting for should be clear. I don’t think they’ll win, but I do hope they’ll make it through without any weirdness towards Bliss. I also hope they debut a third, like Dana Brooke looking like Max from season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And, hey, if she’s a silent film star, we won’t have to listen to her promos, AMIRITE?
David D. – Blue Pants gets a makeover… I think. I imagine she’ll be the Vaudevillians’ secret weapon to come out in some folky getup. I’d have to guess that even though she’s helping out, Blake & Murphy retain. Because there haven’t been any heels winning all night.
Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin
What You Need To Know: Baron Corbin is an unstoppable force. Samoa Joe is also an unstoppable force. Baron Corbin hates it when other people are an unstoppable force, and he tries to stop them.
What Will Happen: We saw Corbin hit the End of Days on Joe on Wednesday’s NXT, and that was mostly the rationale for Corbin winning, right? Seeing him do that to Joe?
Joe was brought in with the promise of “changing the wrestling business,” so having him play Rhino here seems like (slash better be) the first step in something bigger. I don’t actually expect Joe to change anything, but if you’re gonna give him a glorious run in WWE developmental as a lifetime achievement award on the indies, can you get him a few matches against guys that can go? NXT’s full of Nevilles and Chad Gables and Tyler Breezes and Kalistos, those are the types of guys who can help Joe look special. You don’t put him in there with local talent and Baron Corbin when he’s 37 and expect him to carry them to 2005 ROH matches.
Chris Trew – Baron Corbin comes to the ring and when the light shines on his face during his intro he gets blinded. But then he pulls out a pair of cool shades. He wears the shades and they look great on him, but he taps out to Samoa Joe.
Nate Birch – I honestly can’t predict this one, because I have no idea what the end game for either guy is. Samoa Joe seems to have no goals in NXT aside from “show up, cash check” and Baron Corbin exists to as an ongoing rib on the NXT audience. Based on the trajectory of both guy’s career, I’m predicting a nice, dissatisfying double count-out.
Jessica Hudnall – It could be that I’m a big ol’ dummy, but cheese n’ peas, I simply do not understand the purpose of Baron Corbin. That’s why I’ve got to go with SMOJO. I’m pretty sure he knows he can beat Corbin, so he’s going to try, and ultimately succeed.
Austin Heiberg – Here’s the tricky thing… I have no idea what Samoa Joe’s role is supposed to be at NXT. Is he a title contender like Balor or Owens, or is he a part-time final boss for younger guys to prove themselves against, like Rhyno? Not knowing the context makes it hard for me to guess the ending, but I guess I’ll take him for the win.
Danielle Matheson – I’m told “wet fart in a paper bag” isn’t a prediction, so uhh… maybe they’ll surprise us both! Samoa Joe still has a lot of living up to his rep to do (I put my time in watching Impact, let’s not act like those years were lost to the sands of time), and Corbin hasn’t really had his breakout moment as far as impressive technical displays. Let’s be optimistic and hope for a fun, bash ’em up match with… I dunno… I guess Samoa Joe coming out on top.
David D. – The fact that Corbin got the finisher off at NXT probably means he’s not winning. I think Samoa Joe takes his winning streak to a feud with Balor that should be incredible. Meanwhile, Corbin does… what exactly? He’s basically the lost Ascension member at this point.
Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
What You Need To Know: Tyler Breeze is an international male model with season residence in everywhere that isn’t the United States. He’s also secretly a fantastic wrestler, but he’s sorta up his own ass so he never gets opportunities. He demanded one in Brooklyn, so general manager William Regal made a call to an old friend and brought in Japanese wrestling legend Jushin Thunder Liger. Liger helped revolutionize junior heavyweight wrestling in the early 90s, invented the shooting star press and straight-up looks like an Ultraman character. He’s 50, but it barely matters. He’s legitimately one of the greatest living pro wrestlers.
What Will Happen: If Liger’s only here for one night, Breeze takes it. As great as Liger was/is, leaving Breeze looking like a guy who can hang with a puro junior heavyweight legend is the task. As long as Liger has fun, this should be great. Think of it as the WWE version of Liger vs. Dalton Castle. We might not have any boys making daybeds out of their bodies, but maybe we’ll have Liger taking selfies. That’s magical.
Chris Trew – What if we smooshed Breeze and Liger together? Wouldn’t that *instantly* be everyone’s favorite entrance to look forward to? Seriously, take a moment and think about Breeze in Liger’s gear doing Breeze things. If Tyler doesn’t go over here, then I’m turning the rest of TakeOver off.
Nate Birch – The smart, logical thing would be to give Tyler Breeze the rub with a win here, but come on, Jushin Thunder Liger is wrestling in a WWE-owned ring in 2015. Forget get being smart or logical, there are extenuating circumstances.
Jessica Hudnall – If Liger isn’t as distracted by Breezus’ sexiness as he was by Maria Kanellis, I’m going to flip over the entire Internet, so help me. Seriously, there better be at least one over-sized sweat drop on Liger’s head, if not full-on heart eyes. Breeze should be able to use Liger’s compromised attention to his advantage by kicking an old man in the face. Breeze wins.
Austin Heiberg – I’m really conflicted here. I don’t want Tyler to descend any further into “running joke” territory, he’s way too good for that. But at the same time, God so loved the world that he gave the light-heavyweights Jushin Liger. I hate picking against either of these guys, but I think Breeze desperately needs this win, and he’ll get it.
Danielle Matheson – Tyler Breeze, man. I like how this is just a variation on the actually fantastic Dalton Castle-Liger match from Ring of Honor which was, seriously, some of the most fun I’ve ever had at an ROH show. The good news is, if this is just a rehash, the only person who is gonna live up to it is the still somehow criminally underrated Breeze. Hopefully we don’t get straight comedy shots because Liger can still go, and I think he’d make Breeze look brilliant.
David D. – This is Tyler’s chance to have a great match that he carries. Bring streamers, guys! I think Liger wins, but Breeze looks like a million bucks.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley
What You Need To Know: Everything you need to know is covered in the contract signing portion of this week’s Best and Worst of NXT. Bayley is the nicest person in the world. Sasha Banks pretends to be the meanest to give her the confidence to be the best. They came up together, and now they’re co-main-eventing NXT’s biggest show ever. If Bayley wins, it’s the feel-good moment of the year. If Sasha wins, children and also probably Brandon will cry.
What Will Happen: Bayley. It has to be. I’m not emotionally prepared for the alternative. This is a higher-stakes version of her match with Charlotte, which she lost. She defeated Charlotte and Becky Lynch to get here, and defeating Sasha makes it a hat trick. She proves she deserves to be here, wins the title in front of NXT’s biggest crowd ever and vindicates the past two years of watching her lose, helplessly flail and get passed over for everything. Do it, Bayley. Please.
Chris Trew – Sasha Banks belongs on Monday Night Raw, Smackdown, Superstars, Sunday Night Heat, every WWE Network studio show, Nitro, Thunder, and WCW Saturday Night. Therefore, she should drop the belt to Bayley to get the heck off of NXT. NXT is great, but you can’t be on everything, Sasha.
Nate Birch – Sasha Banks is a reverse Kevin Owens situation. She’s done nothing with the NXT Women’s Championship on the main roster, and honestly is diminishing the title somewhat by being just another face in the Divas Revolution mix. Besides, this is super, super obviously Bayley’s time. Triple H is a big gooey softy when it comes to his little e-fed, particularly the women’s division, so I don’t think he’s going to pull the rug out from under us on this one. At least he’d better not.
Jessica Hudnall – I should probably add more than just “BO$$ $TATU$,” so I will. My brain is telling me that Banks is going to be moving to a farm upstate, where she’ll get to romp with Brie Bella for five minutes at a time, and she won’t need that title any more. My heart is telling me “BAYLEY GONNA HUG THAT TITLE SO HARD!!!” but I don’t know. Something deep down in my gut is saying that Sasha retains. Sorry, Bayley, but it isn’t your time just yet. (Let it be noted that my MMA predictions have been terrible, so I fully expect to bomb on this, as well.)
Austin Heiberg – Much like the ladder match, I think the grander plan is to usher in a new champion so the current champion can go wreck shop on Raw and Smackdown. That makes my heart very happy, because Bayley has been after the title for SO LONG now, and I think she’ll finally get it. Sasha’s going to be just fine, don’t worry.
Danielle Matheson – Oh man oh man oh man. Okay, so out of literally every match that’s happened this week (including that CHAOS tag with Okada and RPG Vice against Goto where I’ll probably just dissolve into sparkle hearts and float up into the aether), this is the one I’m looking forward to the most. This one… this one means something. This is what happens when you actually put your money where your mouth is, and give women a story and a chance to wrestle and stick with it. Bayley and Sasha have a clear, immutable history, and it’s not being ignored. Bayley’s kinda hung back in this whole Divas Revolution on the main roster, but, on more than one occasion, we’ve all gotten wrapped up in her wins, but especially in her losses. I want Sasha to retain, even though typing that makes me feel like a monster, but, if I don’t end up a big cryfaced mess at the end of it, then something terrible has happened and you should probably alert an adult.
David D. – What if this match main events? If so, I’m walking to Brooklyn and hugging everyone. I can’t mentally prepare for this match. I can’t handle Sasha Banks leaving NXT. I can’t handle Bayley not winning, either. My heart, guys. I think Bayley wins and I am a river of tears.
Ladder match for the NXT Championship: Finn Bálor (c) vs. Kevin Owens
What You Need To Know: Finn Bálor is an unassuming, good-hearted Irish guy who loves LEGO. He can also sometimes summon an Asian demon that empowers him and helps him win matches. This is a good thing, mind you. He used that power in the place it’s strongest — Tokyo — to unseat Kevin Owens as NXT Champion. Owens, on the other hand, is a pissed-off Canadian dad. He went up to the main roster and started off really well, but he’s been kinda f*cking up since he lost the NXT title and now he’s desperate to get it back. He requested this be a ladder match, so GM William Regal doesn’t use referees to cheat him out of a win. Regal wasn’t going to do this anyway, Owens is just paranoid. Also, Kevin Owens hates you. Yes, you. No, I know, he doesn’t even know you.
What Will Happen: There’s a great story in Kevin Owens fleeing from the main roster back down to NXT so he can be a big fish in a small pond, but Finn’s gotta retain. Have Sami Zayn run out and shove Owens off a ladder AJ Lee-style if you want, I don’t care. This should be a killer match and both guys will destroy themselves to make it special. Think the Neville/Bo Dallas Championship ladder match with everything turned up to 11. Here’s hoping we see the NXT debut of Finn’s black and white demon variant, to run with the Brooklyn theme. Or hell, have him come up in a full plush dragon costume. Either would be great.
Chris Trew – In the metaphorical ladder match, Owens has already won. In this literal ladder match, Finn Balor all the way. As long as he does the Coup de Grace from every rung on the ladder all in a row, that is. If he doesn’t Kevin Owens gets the belt back and refuses to go to Raw because the catering isn’t as swell as it is at Full Sail.
Nate Birch – Honestly, I’d probably put the belt back on Kevin Owens, and I think that just may be what they do. Owens was at his hottest when he was the cocky upstart shoving his NXT Championship in the faces of main roster guys, and if they want to give him back a bit of that heat, they should go back to that. Besides, until Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn heal up, the NXT title picture is remains pretty anemic, so they may as well have Balor and Owens trade the title for a bit.
Jessica Hudnall – I’m not a scholar of ancient tomes or the supernatural, but I am pretty sure that one of the ways to defeat a demon is “beat it into a pulp with a ladder.” An angry Quebec Kodiak also seems way more intimidating to me than a Handsome Boy in grease paint. Owens wins the belt and gnaws off part of Balor’s face as a celebratory snack.
Austin Heiberg – The stipulation makes this pretty interesting, since I can’t seem to recall Finn Balor ever having a ladder match. Regardless, these two are probably going to tear the place down and deliver a hell of a match. I think Balor brings the demon and wins big, sending Kevin Owens to the main roster full-time. As for Balor’s paint job… um, has he ever done Spawn? I’m going with Spawn. That would rule.
Danielle Matheson – I want Balor to retain, mostly because, with so many injuries, a back and forth between him and Owens just seems like treading water. Unless Cesaro interrupts and we can just make Balor and Cesaro wrestle for the next forever. I’m also okay with that.